My latest art project is on the subject of dragons. I want to find my version of the Norwegian dragon. The inspiration for this comes from three sources - the heads of the Hardingfeler /fiddles, the Hoen treasure and the stave churches and old buildings of the vally Numedal.
I'm fascinated by the dragon heads on the harding fiddles. The focus and interest of the artist who made the fiddle is reflected in the shape and decoration. The fiddle heads therefore have an incredible range of personalities. Some are mischievous, some are angry, some are challenging and some are a little scared and tired and have been up a little too long. They are feminine and masculine, arrogant and evasive, short and elegant about each other.
My grandfather Karl Heia is an important and warm person in my life. He was a bearer of tradition and took the initiative to found the fiddle team at Kongsberg. He played the harding fiddle.
The Vikings' belief and fear of dragons is a recurring theme in crafts from the Viking Age. I admire their meticulous and beautiful works. There are especially elements from the Hoen treasure / Scandinavia's largest treasure find from the Viking age, I will use as inspiration in my kites.
My workshop is located 3 km away from the site of the Hoen treasure and my window faces a mound where there are remains of Viking settlements / a castle. I live close to Hedenstad medieval church where there were Viking settlements so this is my people's heritage and family, so to speak.
The stave churches in Nore and Uvdal counties are from 1168 and decorated with wood carvings and paintings of dragon motifs. The same applies to the oldest buildings in Numedal, including Kravik farm.
For part of my upbringing, I lived by Kravik bridge in Nore and spent a lot of time with my friend who was a guide in Nore Stave Church. I was also baptized and got married in Flesberg church (which is also a stave church) and still feel a strong connection to the valley and this heritage.
Hardingfiddles + Vikings + Stave churches = WHAT KIND OF ART?
It remains to be seen, but I feel strong ownership of the mixture and greatly appreciate every little step I manage to take closer to an answer.
From Hauk Buen's collection of Jon Tjønn fiddles
Hoenskatten foto Kulturhistorisk Museum UiO
Uvdal kirke foto Jon Brun